Appendix 4: Important Internal Documents to Develop as Needed

Find below a list of policies, procedures and plans your land trust should consider developing to guide its operations. You can find a comprehensive overview of what might be included in key internal documents in the 2019 Canadian Land Trust Standards and Practices. Consult the alliances’ resources, such as OLTA’s Resource Library, and contact local established land trusts for templates and examples. Please note that it is unrealistic (and likely unnecessary) that these all will be put in place immediately upon or soon after the land trust’s incorporation; some may arise later or never be needed if your land trust is not dealing with a particular situation.


    • Consultation protocols with Indigenous communities, organizations and leadership.
    • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and recruitment policies.
    • Conflict of Interest Policy and Procedure.
    • Record Keeping Policy.
    • Budget – key to identify where money will come from and where and how it will be spent.
    • Financial Management and Reporting Policy.
    • Financial Tracking System.
    • Board Manual – define roles and responsibilities, key policies, list of contacts, properties, and more, to inform and orient new board members.
    • Strategic Plan and Vision – the plan and the process of its creation are beneficial to ensure the board, members and community agree upon the direction the organization is heading, and knowingly work toward a commonly understood set of goals and objectives.
    • Annual Work Plan – beneficial to track tasks and progress toward goals.

Fundraising and Development

    • Communications Strategy – beneficial to identify how exactly to build awareness in the community and respond to situations.
      • Build a website – ensure your community has access to learn more about your mission and how to get involved. Find a Content Management System that works for you, such as WordPress or Squarespace.
    • Fundraising and Development Policy, Practices and Plan – these should consider how to ensure legal obligations are met, keep donors supportive,  set accurate fundraising targets and meet them, among other subjects.
    • Case for Support – beneficial to inform potential donors and funding agencies as to why you deserve financial support for your mission and programs.
    • Corporate Membership Program.

Land Conservation

    • Land Strategy – it is important to at least identify general landscape priorities; experience and opportunity, and community discussions, can help narrow and focus priorities as time passes.
    • Land Selection Criteria, Policy and Procedure – extremely important to maintain transparency, increase efficiency, and transfer knowledge and experience.  As with most policies, completing this set of documents in conjunction with your first land conservation project is likely most practical.

    • Maps – either a digital or paper reference to property boundaries, existing protected areas and priority areas for conservation (potentially identified in the land strategy suggested above); maps are beneficial to facilitate discussion around opportunities as accurately as possible during meetings.
    • Land Care Policy – responsibilities, approved practices, use of Indigenous and Western knowledge systems, permitted and restricted uses, and how to address various situations.

    • Land Care Plan for each property held – may be rudimentary at first, and may add to the knowledge and inventory of features over time (or in periodic reviews).

    • Public Access Policy – which lands and under what circumstances to allow certain kinds of public access (e.g., harvesting, ceremonies, specified areas, with approval or a guide, for research purposes, for foot traffic on trails, staff/volunteer exceptions, etc.)
    • Signage Policy – when to use signs, what formats and language(s), and how to ensure consistent trail signage.

    • Landholder Contact Manual – procedure for contacting landholders and specific policy around record keeping.

Please note that this document may contain links to other websites over which Alliance of Canadian Land Trusts has no control. ACLT provides no endorsement, representation or warranty of any kind regarding the products, services, content or appropriateness of such websites.